Indonesia was struck by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake today in its eastern region, with the epicenter in the Tanimbar islands. The earthquake caused panicked residents to flee their homes for higher ground.
The shaking was also felt by more than 1,000 people in Australia, the New York Post reported.
A tsunami warning in Indonesia was lifted after three hours and only limited damage was suffered in the Islands, the most affected region of Indonesia. The Tanimbar islands are a group of about three dozen islands in eastern Indonesia’s Maluku province.
At least four aftershocks were reported after the powerful quake that was also felt in some parts of northern Australia.
Indonesia disaster agency officials said that at least 15 homes and two school buildings were severely damaged, with one person injured, after the tremor was felt strongly for 3-5 seconds. The quake struck at a depth of 81 miles at around 3 a.m. local time, the country’s earthquake-monitoring agency said.
A tsunami warning was issued but then lifted at 5:43 a.m. “Based on our observation of four tide gauges around the earthquake’s epicentre … there was no anomaly detected or no significant changes of sea level,” Indonesian official Dwikorita Karnawati said, telling people who lived near the coast that it was safe to resume fishing and other ordinary activities.
There were four aftershocks with the strongest recorded at 5.5 magnitude, Indonesia’s earthquake-monitoring agency said. Indonesia is part of the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, making it one of the most earthquake-prone regions on Earth. A 5.6-magnitude earthquake that hit Indonesia’s most populated province of West Java last November flattened homes and caused the deaths of more than 300 people.